TCI News

Illegal Vessel Intercepted on April 5, 2019 and Ongoing Repatriation

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands — The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services wishes to update the public on matter related to illegal migrants.

During the early morning of Sunday April 5, 2020, a vessel with forty-four (44) illegal migrants (thirty-eight (38) males and six (6) females) was intercepted by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force through the detection of the Coastal Radar. They have been taken into detention and processed by Immigration and Medical personnel and declared fit to travel.

We are extremely pleased to inform the public that permission was sought and granted yesterday to repatriate all of our detainees of the various illegal vessels. Hence, those who were caught early this morning will join the one hundred and eighty-one (181) Haitian Nationals who were held at our Detention Centers due to interception by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Marine Branch and the Immigration Department Enforcement Unit from the various landings. All detainees were screened and cleared for repatriation as no one was displaying or complaining of any CONVID-19 symptoms as was confirmed by our Medical Team.

Today, Sunday, April 05th 2020 at about 9:00 a.m. all two hundred twenty-five (225) detainees began to be repatriated to Cap Haitian via charters on our two main airlines namely Caicos Express and Inter-Caribbean Airlines.

Hon. Vaden Williams, Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services stated: It’s my aim to have all of our illegal detainees repatriated today. This is an expensive task but one that must be taken in order to protect the lives of our people.

“Soon you will hear of measures being put into place to protect these islands and its people. Measures such as but not limited to:- time limits on work permits; the closing down of first time work permits; enforcement operations and rids crafted to rid these island of illegal migrants”. He went on to say: “The time has come when we must ask if certain Consuls are welcome here! I have had enough of this illegal problem and vessels landings and I am sure the people as well. So note if anyone found with illegal immigrants whether at their residence, personal vehicles or place of work, shall be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law and those who are on work permits or other permits, recommendations shall be made for these status to be revoked.”  


Hon. Williams further stated: “I ask you the people to remain calm and report any suspicious movement to 911. My Officers are out there and doing a great job and I say thanks to all of them. I ask our people to support them where you can, as we work together to clean our country and keep our people safe and healthy”.

In addition, the Border Control Detention Centre is the main holding facility and currently is also holding twenty-eight (28) Sri Lankan Nationals and one (1) Indian National, awaiting repatriation which has been delayed due to COVID- 19 worldwide travel restrictions.

The continued illegal vessel landings and repatriation has again costs the Turks and Caicos Islands Government in excess of US$2.5 million from the Immigration Department alone during the last Financial Year 2019/2020. This does not take into consideration the human and other agencies costs aligned with illegal migration.

The Enforcement agencies of the Turks and Caicos Islands are again asking anyone with information concerning planned and landed arrival of other vessels, poachers and any suspicious movements of persons to contact the Police anonymously on 911 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1-800-8477. Tips can be submitted anonymously in English, French or Spanish on either www.crimestoppers.tc or on Facebook as a fan of Crime Stoppers Turks & Caicos. Crime Stoppers tips are received in the USA.

The public is also reminded that it is an offence to harbour illegal persons and that persons found guilty engaging in such activities are liable to a fine of US$20,000 or a term of imprisonment of four years, or both in accordance with the Immigration Ordinance 2018 or any law.  The public is also reminded that assisting illegal entry is a criminal offence and persons found engaging in such activities will receive the full extent of the law.

Through this medium the Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services wishes to thank all Agencies who worked alongside them to ensure this repatriation took place. This include but not limited to the Governor’s Office; Office of the Premier and Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Health and Tourism; the Airlines; Ministry of Immigration Staff; the Haitian Government and all others including the general public.

Press Release issued Sunday April 5, 2020

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